Sunday, June 8, 2014

Odds and Ends Tray

I'm finally starting to "style" our bedside tables. I splurged on matching lamps (more on that later) and have been working on making the bedside tables cute as well as functional.

My side of the bed seems to gather more stuff than David's. He mostly reads on his iPad, so his beside table has a lamp, a photo of Zuzu, Eliza's crocheted blanket from the hospital, the remote control, and his iPad charger.

My side of the bed, meanwhile, has a rotating stash of books, magazines, lotions, cuticle cream, bandaids, essential oils, water glasses, Tums, and hair elastics. Plus my 5 year diary and a pen, and often another pad of paper for jotting down notes.

Our bedside tables don't have drawers because we use these cabinets from Target. They work really well since mine gets used as bookshelves and David's gets used as a cabinet for Zuzu to climb in and out of (he removed the middle shelf). It's probably just as well since my drawers tend to get crazy and disorganized anyway. This helps me keep things fairly streamlined, as I'm forced to clear off the clutter every so often before it drives me crazy. Still, I was looking for something to help me keep various things corralled on top of the cabinet.

I have a little Longaberger basket that I received as a gift for being the maid of honor in my cousin's wedding, and I use it to hold various items, but I wanted a small tray to help keep me organized. I saw this little tray on Pinterest and thought that it would be perfect:
Kate Spade tray from Nordstrom website
But paying $40 for a 6" square tray just seemed a little silly to me.

I'd seen these things on Pinterest about making your own coffee mugs with a plain white porcelain mug and a Sharpie marker (this one is cute and makes me think of my friend Molly's son Hayes):

photo from the blog Simply Anchored
So I decided that I could try to replicate this Kate Spade tray for a fraction of the cost.

Next time I was at Home Goods, I scoped out their white dishes but didn't see anything that seemed to be the right shape or size. About a month later I was back again (window shopping for a new rug for the front room) and they had the perfect square plate! It was originally $3.99 but was on clearance for $3. The price was right, so I brought it home.

After playing around with the Sharpie marker we had already, I decided it was drying up and to recreate the look of the lettering on the Kate Spade tray, I needed a marker with a flat tip. So on my next Target trip, I picked up a dual-tip Sharpie marker--a fine tip and a "chisel tip." It was $1.89. I already had rubbing alcohol and a gold metallic paint pen at home, so for less than $5 I had everything I needed to replicate my $40 tray.

I let David wrestle Zuzu down for a nap and I gathered my supplies and preheated the oven to 350:

Bloggers everywhere cringe at this photo, but whatevs. You can see the supplies I used. Not pictured: cotton ball, paper towel, Goo-Be-Gone.
I'd read on another blog that it was a good idea to wipe down the plate with rubbing alcohol before getting started. My first step was actually to use a couple squirts of Goo-be-Gone to get all the sticker residue off the plate. Then I put some rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball and gave it a quick once-over, drying it with a paper towel.

Then it was time to start writing! I pulled up a picture of the tray on my laptop and practiced writing on a slick cardboard envelope I pulled out of the recycling:

There's that paper towel I mentioned! I know you needed that visual. You're welcome. 
Confession: I still screwed up my O a couple of times on the plate (nerves, I think). No worries--a quick swipe with alcohol on a paper towel took it right off and I started over.

I tried to copy the style of the Kate Spade tray to some extent, but I didn't stick to it exactly. You could also get really creative and cute with the lettering--especially if you're one of those people with artistic talent or teacher-handwriting.

Anyway, once I was satisfied with my efforts (which seriously took no time at all since I refused to let myself get crazy perfectionist about a $3 tray), I took the gold paint pen and ran it around the edges of the plate. It isn't a perfect edge by any means, but it was good enough to gilt it up a little bit.

It seriously took all of five minutes and I ended up with this:

I mean, it may not sell at Nordstrom for $40, but it will do the job, right?
Then I stuck in the oven for half an hour. It's currently cooling on my stovetop, but once it's back to room temperature I'll take it upstairs to glam up (and organize) my bedside table. Super cute and super easy!

It has inspired me to tackle another Pinterest project for David for Father's Day. That one will require Zuzu's cooperation, which can be hit or miss. I'm still taking her picture monthly in the same chair, but this is how May 29's photo session went:

So basically I'm saying, wish me luck.

Good luck, Mama!


  1. Ha! Love the anchor! Saw it and smiled before I read the shout out too ;) super impressed with your tray! But I want a pic of the tables with tray, lamps, cuticle cream etc

  2. Yes I also want a pic of the bedside tables. But that tray is adorable and looks super cute. A job well done!

  3. That is SOOO cute! I think it turned out great!

  4. I ADORE those cabinets! I saw them in Target yesterday, on sale for $104. I wanted to get both. I got neither and I'm still thinking about them. I should go back before they're gone (I want them in the living room, though). As for bedside tables, I was discussing them this weekend, asking friends what they thought about different tables, one higher than the other. I think I can balance it but I wonder if it'll look kooky.